Shek Kong stabling sidings and emergency rescue station

On Sunday 23 September 2018 the Express Rail Link into Hong Kong opened to passengers, connecting the city to the high-speed rail network of China. The railway runs through a 26 kilometre long tunnel from the China border at Mai Po to the brand new West Kowloon Terminus, with only one piece of above ground track on Hong Kong territory – the Shek Kong stabling sidings and emergency rescue station.


MTR Corporation photo

Shek Kong Stabling Sidings

Shek Kong is located in the new Territories, at the midpoint of the tunnel.

And has been provided with maintenance sheds to keep the fleet of high speed trains running.

Along with open stabling sidings.

And sidings for the storage of maintenance vehicles.

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study for the Express Rail Link describes the purpose of the sidings.

Shek Kong Stabling Sidings (SSS)

Stabling sidings will be located at Shek Kong. To comply with the operational requirements, stabling sidings will comprise running maintenance area, stabling area, store, staff accommodation,permanent way facility locomotive shed, fuelling facility, gatehouse and access point, E&M plant building, train wash facility, and traction power feeder substation.

In order to accommodate with increased long haul train services to Hong Kong without affecting the overall line capacity to Hong Kong, stabling sidings within the Project are required to meet the operational requirements:

  • Stabling requirements for long haul trains to support the operation of the West Kowloon Terminus;
  • Overnight stabling for long haul trains, for return journey back to the Mainland on the following day;
  • Routine maintenance checks and inspections for long haul trains and shuttle trains during stopping over in Hong Kong before the return journey;
  • Stabling for short haul trains both at night and daytime off-peak;
  • Central infrastructure structural maintenance for the XRL and track side maintenance; and
  • Cleaning and inspection services for short haul and long haul trains.

In addition, a small scale engineering depot for necessary maintenance facilities (e.g. maintenance of permanent-way, overhead line, signalling and control, etc) and engineering trains will be required for maintenance of infrastructures and buildings, as well as handling of emergency situation such as derailment or emergency servicing.

In order to achieve the operational requirements, the stabling sidings will comprise:

  • Eight stabling sidings (approx. length 520m each);
  • Four covered running maintenance sidings (approx. length 480m each);
  • Three permanent-way sidings (approx. length 300m each);
  • Workshops and plant rooms;
  • Stores (including dangerous good stores);
  • One office building with control centre for the compound, gatehouse and canteen;
  • Stabling siding for emergency rescue bus;
  • Shunting tracks; and
  • Train Wash.

In addition, a total of six locomotives will be stabled at the stabling sidings. The associated facilities will comprise:

  • Two 40m locomotive sidings;
  • Refuelling tank; and
  • Locomotive maintenance shed and workshops.

Only minor maintenance activities and inspection will be carried out in stabling sidings. The proposed layout of stabling sidings has been designed to minimise the site area to approximately 20 hectares to accommodate the above-mentioned facilities.

The sidings themselves are stub ended with the mainline connection at the south end, facing the West Kowloon Terminus.

The mainline tracks run underground past the site, so the depot tracks head down to a grade separated junction.

Emergency Rescue Station

As well as the stabling sidings, an ‘Emergency Rescue Station’ is located on the adjacent main line tracks.


MTR Corporation photo of a DF11 diesel locomotive hauling an overhead inspection train

From the air it just looks like a big trench.

But it’s a big place down below.

With five sets of staircases along the length of the platform.

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study for the Express Rail Link explaining the purpose of the facility.

An open air emergency rescue station (ERS) is required for fire fighting and evacuation of passengers in case of emergency at approximately the mid-point of the alignment.

The ERS is designated as a place for trains to stop and to discharge passengers either to another train in the event of mechanical problems or evacuation to an open air platform in the event of a train fire. Firemen’s lifts and staircases will be provided to allow ease of access for firemen. Passengers can escape vertically via staircases from the box to a secure fenced-off holding area.

The ERS will be located next to Shek Kong stabling sidings in a depressed box with an open top approximately 500m long, 28m wide and 18m deep. It will comprise of three tracks and two island platforms, with the two outer tracks being the mainline running tracks and the centre track being a pocket track for emergency refuge. Island platforms will be provided between the tracks for detraining passengers in case of emergency.

The length will accommodate a full length long haul train consisting of 16 coaches with a total length of 430m.

More diagrams

Plan view of the stabling sidings and emergency rescue station.

Along with a cross section.

And a full track diagram.

Further reading

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